Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 13 January 19:
Genesis 27:18 – “Who are you, my son?”
Jesus once asked, “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25) Jacob forfeited himself to steal what, ironically, God intended to give him anyway. (Romans 9:11-13) In so doing, Jacob brought much needless sorrow to himself and to his family – “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” (Proverbs 20:17) Now Jacob is on the run with a very hard road ahead of him.
When we think about the impact of sinful choices, we tend to think about the impact on the situation and on others – “Then what happened?” These are the very real and obvious external consequences of sin. However, sin also has an internal impact, an impact on character, and impact on our hearts — “. . .man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Character is who we really are inside, not who we say we are or who others say we are – “Who are you, my son?”
The decisions we make both reveal our character (Proverbs 20:11) and shape our future character. Each decision we make, big or small, changes our environment and changes us too. And the Bible tells us that decisions come from the heart (what you really love and care about most). Remember, in Matthew 5 Jesus points out that sins such as anger, lust, divorce, lying, and retaliation flow from a sinful heart that loves “self” more than God and others. Proverbs warns, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Jacob deceived his father, but Jacob was first deceived by his own selfish heart – “The pride of your heart has deceived you…” (Obadiah 1:3).
Many books have been written about character and character development, but the Bible is the ultimate guide to character development, and the Bible tells us that character is a heart issue, a love issue, a relationship issue – your character is defined by your relationship with God, how much you really “know” Him, love Him, and walk with Him. The Bible tells us that decisions flow from the heart, and good decisions flow from a heart that loves God (who is Love), but only God can give us a heart that can love Him, and love (character) is the product of the Holy Spirit:
– Ezekiel 36:26 — And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
– Galatians 5:22-24 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
– Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a pure heart, O God.”
God gives Christians their goal for character development – “that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent…. to be conformed to the image of his Son…. keep yourselves in the love of God…. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments.” (John 17:3; Romans 8:29; Jude 1:21; 2 John 1:6) And God gives us the ability to grow in character, to grow in love – “We love because he first loved us…. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him…. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him…. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” (1 John 4:19; 1 John 4:9; 1 John 4:16; 1 John 3:23)
When we know God and the perfection of His character, we love Him and we trust Him. When we trust Him, we are willing to walk with Him, but we are also willing to wait on Him. Jacob made the same mistake his grandparents and parents had made before him: Jacob did not trust the Lord with his future, so he took matters into his own hands and compromised his integrity in the process. Abraham did this when twice he lied about his wife and turned her over to foreign kings in order to save his own skin (Genesis 12:10-20; Genesis 20) and when he got Hagar pregnant rather than waiting for God’s promise to provide him with a son through his wife Sarai. Then, Jacob’s father Isaac lied about Rebekah being his wife for sake of self-preservation. And today, we read how Rebekah coached Jacob to deceive his father and steal his father’s blessing. If only they had all trusted in the Lord and waited on his timing for His blessings without sorrows. Meditate on the following verses concerning waiting on the Lord:
– Genesis 49:18 — I wait for your salvation, O Lord.
– Psalm 25:3 — Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
– Psalm 25:5 — Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
– Psalm 25:21 — May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
– Psalm 27:14 — Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
– Psalm 31:24 — Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!
– Psalm 33:20 — Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
– Psalm 37:7 — Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
– Psalm 37:9 — For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
– Psalm 37:34 — Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
– Psalm 38:15 — But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
– Psalm 39:7 — “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
– Psalm 40:1 — I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
– Psalm 52:9 — I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.
– Psalm 62:1 — For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
– Psalm 62:5 — For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
– Psalm 119:95 — The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies.
– Psalm 130:5 — I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
– Psalm 130:6 — my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
– Proverbs 8:34 — Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.
– Psalm 25:21 — May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
– Proverbs 28:20 — A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
– Proverbs 20:22 — Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
– Isaiah 8:17 — I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.
– Isaiah 25:9 — It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
– Isaiah 26:8 — In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.
– Isaiah 33:2 — O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble.
– Isaiah 40:31 — but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
– Isaiah 49:23 — Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”
– Isaiah 51:5 — My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait.
– Isaiah 64:4 — From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.
– Lamentations 3:25 — The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
– Lamentations 3:26 — It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
– Hosea 12:6 — “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”
– Micah 7:7 — But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
– Habakkuk 2:3 — For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
– Romans 8:25 — But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
– Galatians 5:5 — For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.
– James 5:7 — Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.
– 2 Peter 3:13 — But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
– 2 Peter 3:14 — Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
– Jude 1:21 — keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
As we continue to read God’s word this year, see how many people set themselves up for failure, heartache, and pain by failing to wait upon the Lord. Consider how this impatience reflects an unloving heart. How about you; will you wait upon the Lord?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 13 Jan 19: Wait upon the Lord and guard your integrity.